Field experiments were conducted from 1972 to 1978 and from 1998 to 1999 to evaluate tobacco budworm,Heliothis virescens (F.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), larval feeding on flue-cured tobacco,Nicotiana tabacum (L.), yield in eastern North Carolina. In the earlier studies, using variety Coker 319, treatment plots were evaluated when either 0 or 100% of plants in a plot were infested withH.virescens larvae. Treatment differences based on actual yield loss (kilograms per hectare) were compared with estimations of yield loss based on leaf consumption and leaf loss. Results indicate actual yield loss when 100% of plants were infested was less than the corresponding estimates of yield loss. In the later experiments, two tobacco budworm-resistant lines, ‘CU 263′ and ‘CU 370′, were compared with a commercial susceptible variety, K 326, when 0, 10, 20, or 40% of plants were infested (1998) and 0, 10, 40, 75, or 100% of plants were infested (1999). Although significant increases in leaf equivalents consumed were associated with infestations exceeding the recommended threshold, differences were not detected for yield (kilograms per hectare), quality (dollars per kilogram), and value (dollars per hectare) within each tobacco line. Additionally, there was not a significant correlation between value and infestations level for any of the tobacco lines. These results provide economic support for tolerance of a higher treatment threshold. Although K 326 sustained more leaf equivalent loss than CU 263 and CU 370, the value of K 326 harvested was higher than that of CU 263 and CU 370. To justify use of resistant varieties, the combination of pest pressure and the benefit of host plant resistance must be greater than the capacity of a susceptible variety to produce competitive yields, despite sustaining significantly higher loss.
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Vol. 100 • No. 3